Tourism Ireland has announced the appointment of Alison Metcalfe as its new Head of North America.

North America is Ireland's second largest tourism market which experienced a strong performance in 2012 and delivered almost a million visitors and $1billion in revenue.

Alison Metcalfe will take up the position with effect from June 1 2013, following an extensive international recruitment process. She is replacing Joe Byrne.

Alison has worked with Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board since 1992, initially in Canada and since 2007, as Vice President Marketing in USA, where she led the recent USA Review, Make Ireland Jump Out. She previously also worked for VisitBritain (formerly BTA) in London, Portugal and Toronto.

Tourism Ireland was established under the framework of the Belfast Agreement of Good Friday 1998. The marketing group responsible for Ireland is jointly funded by the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on a two to one ratio, and operate under the auspices of the North/South Ministerial Council through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in the South.

They employ 154 people in key source markets, such as Great Britain, USA and Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. Tourism Ireland also have offices on the island of Ireland, in Coleraine and Dublin – and have extended their reach to include emerging tourist markets, such as China, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East.

Tourism Ireland works with the two tourist boards on the island, Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, who are responsible for product and enterprise development and marketing to tourism consumers within the island of Ireland.